Monster Hunter Rise Review – Runt Of The Litter

Monster Hunter: World was a major paradigm shift for Capcom’s beloved franchise. The fast-paced difficulty level made progression comfortable for newcomers, while countless playoff challenges made expert hunters come back for more. Monster Hunter Rises gameplay often tries to copy Worlds success, which is not always a bad thing. Matches continue to be an exciting dance with death, gear adjustment is satisfying, and coordinating hunts with friends provides great fun and unexpected results. Even with the introduction of new mechanics that help amplify these features, Monster Hunter Rise struggles to establish its own creative identity.

Encounters with huge and impressive beasts are the center of the experience, and put your skills to the test with the countless types of weapons. Once you win, spend your downtime sprinting around the main hub, upgrading or forging better equipment, picking up a lot of waiting quests from NPCs, and carefully preparing for the next hunt. This captures the basics of the fantasy-action series, but Monster Hunter Rise does not go far beyond that comfort zone.

During opening hours, residents of Kamura Village are busy preparing for the “disaster”, an army of wild monsters determined to lay waste to everything in their path. As the village’s newly registered hunter, you must kill or capture numerous creatures in the biomes outside your home town’s steel gates. As soon as you have finished marveling at the blossoming cherry trees and humming along to the beautiful score, be sure to grab key consumables from your ever-growing shopping cart, eat a delicious meal at the local eatery for exclusive bonuses, and venture out in the unknown. This routine has a pleasant monotony that Monster Hunter fans are likely to appreciate, but the addition of “Buddy Plaza” adds a new feature to your return trips.

Buddy Plaza is a base for operations for your palikos and palamuts (cat and dog warriors, respectively). You can send your faithful pets on their own missions to procure various craft materials, spend money on training them to be more effective in future engagements, swap out their equipment, or hire even more of them by talking to the dealer. Friends are extremely versatile, and Monster Hunter: Rise constantly rewards you for using the space’s various facilities. Are you still grinding for the rare beak or tail? Your palico “meowcenaries” might surprise you with one from a recent expedition. This kind of positive feedback gives the breaks between combat / exploration a much-needed taste.

You spend most of your play through experiencing the classic loop: Fight against giant opponents like the wild Arzuros and Lagombi, collect worldly items, and hand over heavy items to the camp. Be sure to explore the nooks and crannies of each map, as floating, colorful birds called “Spiribirds” can be absorbed to increase your health, endurance, attack, or defense. These buffs make it much easier to complete the above missions. Won’t you do all that on foot? Drive on your palamute to speed up navigation or whip your wirebug out to climb cliff sides and mountain ranges in seconds.

Wirebug attacks, called Silkbinds, add a new layer of intensity to the action. When used repeatedly, Silkbinds forces monsters into a mounting mode. These short combat sequences are about using a monster’s power against them by crashing into nearby structures to get damage shifted or sprinting against other unsuspecting opponents to wipe out the pain. Wyvern riding is my favorite mechanic because it adds an exciting burst of strategy to the franchise’s age-old combat system.

Aside from mounting monsters and using wirebug to wall run in a spectacular way, there is not much else that separates the Monster Hunter Rise from the installments that came before. It has enough playoff content to keep you busy long after the credits roll (if you don’t mind copious amounts of grinning), and multiplayer is still the optimal way to play, but the excitement of my early chases soon subsided. Monster Hunter Rise is far from the next definitive chapter in the series. Nevertheless, if you are looking for a polished-but-conventional adventure with a few small nuances, then you will be at home in Kamura Village.

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